Lewis attacks 'mean spirit' of GOP in commencement speech

Peter Van Voorhis
California Campus Correspondent

  • Democratic Rep. John Lewis exhorted Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts graduates to “turn this society upside down” to combat what he deemed “a mean spirit in America.”
  • Lewis never mentioned any politicians by name, but condemned anonymous "colleagues" in Congress for opposing him on issues like immigration reform.
  • Democratic Rep. John Lewis exhorted Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts graduates to “turn this society upside down” to combat what he deemed “a mean spirit in America.”

    Lewis never directly mentioned any politicians by name in his 20 minute commencement address Saturday, instead bemoaning what he called “forces in America today that want to take us back to another place, another time.”

    “As you leave here…get in the way, get in trouble—good trouble, necessary trouble—and make some noise.”   

    Lewis discussed his upbringing and involvement in the Civil Rights movement, comparing that time of “optimism” to the “mean spirit” that he believes prevails today.

    “We have made a lot of progress, but we still have a distance to go,” Lewis stated to immense applause. “We’ve come too far, we’ve made too much progress, and we must not go back, we must go forward, as a nation, and as a people.”

    [RELATED: Dem senator’s commencement speech paints cataclysmic picture]

    “I’m convinced that some of those chickens I preached to in the 40’s and 50’s tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the Congress,” he said. “As a matter of fact, some of those chickens were just a little more productive. At least they produce eggs.”

    Lewis also called out the House Republican leadership on a number of issues, including immigration reform.

    “It doesn’t make sense for millions and millions of people, including little children, to be living in fear in the United States of America,” he declared. “Set people on a path to citizenship.”

    [RELATED: Warren ‘can’t help’ making UMass commencement political]

    In closing, Lewis urged the graduating class to be a disruptive force against the status quo he had just described, saying he doesn’t want to see a return to the 1950’s.

    “As you leave here…get in the way, get in trouble—good trouble, necessary trouble—and make some noise,” Lewis concluded. “Our country needs you now more than ever before. Turn this society upside down, to set it right side up.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RepublicanPeter





    Peter Van Voorhis

    Peter Van Voorhis

    California Campus Correspondent

    Peter Van Voorhis is a California Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for He attends the University of California, Irvine, where he studies finance and is a member of the College Republicans. He has contributed to the Daily Wire, The College Fix, The Blaze, Euronews, and Red Alert Politics.

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